Green Sea Turtle Cleaning Station

Green Sea Turtle being cleaned by yellow butterflyfish

While in Hawaii I had the opportunity to start using my underwater housing. I can tell it is going to take some time to hone my skills to make the kind of images I am interested in. Getting used to the camera controls, looking through the mask (with corrected optics for my poor eyes), getting (or being ) in the right postion, and having enough air left to wait for the right moment is a lot of work!

For the most part, I took the camera snorkeling in the reefs around Kehei. Even though the visibility was not so great and there were lots of people around I was able to make a few images I like.

In this image a green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) is being cleaned by Lemon Butterflyfish (Chaetodon miliaris). Algae and parasites collect on the skin and shell of the turtles and the fish gather round and eat the parasites thus “cleaning” the turtles

The large white masses on the turtles body are Fibropapillomas, a kind of tumor thought to be related to the herpes virus. Sadly, Fibropapilloma is considered one of the primary threats to overall health of the green sea turtle population.

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